Basic Proficiency Test for International Licensing of Drivers

August 19, 2012 in Asia, Thailand, Travelogue

As you might have noticed, we have a couple of teenagers.

If we were in the USA, Hannah would have her driver’s license by now; instead she’s learning to drive a motorbike here in Thailand. Gabriel has had a few driving lessons on a certain island that lacks legal oversight which we frequent. They are both looking forward to the freedom of wheels and the ability to “help” Dad drive on our journeys.

  • American kids go through a prescribed procedure, usually including formal lessons and a test, before they get their licenses.
  • Canadian standards are similar, but more stringent.
  • British kids learn to drive even though the poor things have to master doing it on the wrong side of the road.


But what about international kids?

What about those growing up across countries and continents; what sort of driving instruction should they have? Tony and I have been considering this, as we prepare to launch our own young into the wheeled fray.

We’d like to submit the following to the International Committee of Worldschooling Parents as a basic proficiency test for International Licensing:

1. Which side of the road should one drive on?

a- the right side

b- the left side

c- the top side

d- the side with fewest potholes & least oncoming traffic

e- there’s a side?

2. When driving on a 1.5 lane road the procedure for passing is as follows:

a- do not pass, you need two lanes to do that

b- blink lights twice, then pass on the left, hoping the overtaken will squeeze right

c- wait for an oncoming bus, hammer it to the floor and yell, “Banzai!”

d- pass on the berm to the right

e- play chicken with oncoming traffic in the half lane

3. When sharing the roadway with a passenger bus, two Bedouin on camels, a sleeping dog, three naked children, a flock of chickens and push-cart selling fried dough, who has the right of way?

a- the bus

b- the children

c- the pushcart

d- the dog

e- none of the above, there is a herd of goats crossing

4. A branch, or small bush laying in the roadway means that:

a- road crews are clearing the sides

b- something fell off of a truck

c- there is a truck broken down ahead

d- firewood is for sale ahead

e- a hurricane has just blown through

5. Which of the following does not belong on the highway:

a- livestock

b- lawn tractors

c- bicycles

d- drunk locals

e- you

6. How many passengers can you fit on a 3rd class bus:

a- capacity stated by the manufacturer

b- twice the capacity stated by the manufacturer

c- depends on their genus, phylum & species

d- is one of them carrying durian fruit?

e- one more

7. Should you help your father when he is pulled over by the police in Tunisia?

a- yes, he’s your dad

b- no, hang him out to dry

c- depends on whether or not he’s stopped speaking Spanish in a French-Arab country and making you translate yet

d- only if they make him get out of the car

e- my dad would never get pulled over by the police in Tunisia

8. When stopped by a policeman, in Oaxaca, wearing a badge that says, “I’m not corrupt, are you?” The correct course of action is:

a- pretend not to speak Spanish

b- offer him a bribe

c- hand him your passport and drivers license and act innocent

d- smile and negotiate the “fine” to a lower level

e- hand him your fake ID and drive off

9. The appropriate way to transport a pig is:

a- well, that depends on how far we’re going

b- in a registered farm vehicle

c- on his own three feet (he was lucky!)

d- in a basket on top of the bus

e- trussed out with bamboo, slung across the back of a moped

10. The maximum number of persons to be transported on a moped is:

a- two

b- Amsterdam, or Hanoi?

c- depends on how many kids you have

d- are we counting the sidecar?

e- locals or tourists?

11. When transporting a child under two on a moped the following is essential:

a- a helmet

b- a wicker chair for him to sit in

c- balance

d- a belief in Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection

e- an understanding of “Inshah Allah”

12. When presented with a grungy traveler hitchhiking one should:

a- pick him up

b- toss him a beer and keep rolling

c- assess his potential as a traveling companion based on number of instruments he carries

d- scratch and sniff

e- clap out the window

13. Which road sign should be taken most seriously:

a- stop sign

b- “turn left with caution”

c- camel crossing

d- green branch in the road

e- “toilet to puke in ahead”

14. When passing on a mountain curve:

a- wait for the cloud to lift

b- you don’t pass on a mountain curve, that’s dangerous

c- ambulance chase the chicken bus

d- honk and hope

e- are we going up, or down?

15. Rank in order, from safest to least safe:

a- Mexico City at rushour

b- six backpackers with gear in a Cambodian tuk-tuk in monsoon

c- crossing the street in Hanoi

d- bicycling in Rome

e- taking a cab in NYC


Post Script:

Dear Children,

Your performance on this test, both theoretical and physical will not only determine when and if you get to drive, but where and what. Above average results will earn you wheels from 2- 16 on dirt paths to the autobahn. Below average results will relegate you to diesel water buffalo and hitchhiking (better learn to play an instrument!)

With love,

Your International Parents

p.s. Any questions bearing resemblance to real events or persons is purely coincidental. That’s our story, and we’re stickin’ to it.